Back in December, police began a surreal criminal investigation into whether St. Paul and Minneapolis Archbishop John C. Nienstedt somehow "inappropriately touched" a boy four years ago in broad daylight in front of crowds of people outside a church following a public Confirmation ceremony.
If anyone needed another example of the wildly disparate treatment of Catholic clergy by the media and by law enforcement, one needs to look no further than this batty episode.
Common Sense on Vacation
Police finally concluded just last week what any clear-thinking individual would have known from the beginning: that nothing even remotely inappropriate ever took place.
But their conclusion was not reached until after a mob of investigators conducted an intensive three-month investigation with over a dozen interviews with "witnesses" and pored over photographs of the day in question like the F.B.I. examining photos of Dealey Plaza on the day that JFK was assassinated.
Think about that. All those public resources and tax dollars were expended to examine the nutty claim that a Catholic clergyman had in some way molested a boy while having his picture taken at a public event in front of hundreds of people.
Not only did the wild-eyed zealots at the anti-Catholic group SNAP admit that the kooky claim against Nienstedt was "pretty implausible," but even the boy who was at the center of the episode said that he "did not feel violated," that he was "concerned about the attention the incident was receiving," and that he "did not believe the incident was significant."
So the obvious question about the whole episode is: Why did such a bogus and inconceivable case receive so much public attention and waste so many tax dollars?
Public officials now ceding to the media lynch mob
As we have relayed a number of times before, the media in Minnesota has been on a nasty crusade against Archbishop Nienstedt and the Catholic Church. And now it seems that local officials charged with impartially enforcing the law have ceded to the media pressure.
Ramsey County Attorney John J. Choi and St. Paul Police Chief Tom Smith have not only bowed to the media's lynch mob mentality but also wasted limited public resources with the goal of garnering media attention and free publicity. (Choi just-so-happens to be running for re-election this year.)
And so it goes: the media's hysterical coverage of sex abuse in the Catholic Church has led not only to the Church being unfairly maligned in the public square but has also led to witch hunts by opportunistic public officials for good free press.